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On February 15 of Timothy and Kathy Keller's devotional, God's Wisdom for Navigating Life, we are challenged to practice the presence of God. What does that mean? Keller explains, "It means to keep God consciously in mind as you move through your day."
The concept of practicing the presence of God brings to mind Brother Lawrence, a monk who worked as a cook in a monastery in Paris during the late 1500s-early 1600s. In his small book, The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence tells of how he learned to cultivate a deep sense of God's presence with him, even in the most mundane day-to-day activities, like washing dishes. For Brother Lawrence, the presence of God is "the concentration of the soul's attention on God, remembering that He is always present" (p. 67). Practicing the presence of God was then "a quiet, familiar conversation with God" throughout the day (p. 80).
That's it. Know that God is with you every moment. God is with you when you are waking, dressing, making coffee, buttering toast, reading news, checking email, waking the children, speaking to your children, working, cleaning, recreating, sleeping. In all our ways, acknowledge God.
How can we practice the presence of God today? We can begin by following the example of Brother Lawrence:
"At the beginning of my duties I would say to the Lord with confidence, 'My God, since You are with me, and since, by Your will, I must occupy myself with external things, please grant me the grace to remain with You, in Your presence. Worth with me, so that my work might be the very best. Receive as an offering of love both my work and all my affections.
During my work, I would always continue to speak to the Lord as though He were right with me, offering Him my services and thanking Him for His assistance.
And at the end of my work, I used to examine it carefully. If I found good in it, I thanked God. If I noticed faults, I asked His forgiveness without being discouraged, and then went on with my work, still dwelling in Him.
In this way, His presence has become as easy and natural to me now as it once was difficult to attain" (pp. 82-83).
Let us grow in our wisdom of practicing the presence of God. Let us speak to our Lord as if He were right beside us at all times during our day, loving us, praying for us, protecting us, providing for us. Because of course, He is.
-Brenda Jung